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No plans for visit by China's first lady: MAC

TAIPEI--The Mainland Affairs Council (陸委會, MAC) yesterday dismissed a proposal by UFO Radio, a local station, that China's first lady, Peng Liyuan (彭麗媛), should meet with her Taiwanese counterpart, Chow Mei-ching (周美青), saying it would be too sensitive.

Asked about the issue during an interview with the radio station, MAC chief Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said a visit by Peng would be “just as sensitive as” a visit by the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Zhijun (張志軍).

He said Taiwan should develop its relations with China “step by step” and should only consider allowing Peng to enter the country after Zhang has visited Taiwan.

Soon after assuming office last month, Zhang indicated his desire to visit Taiwan and said he would welcome a visit by his Taiwanese counterpart to China.

Wang said he would welcome Zhang's visit to Taiwan “at an appropriate time, in a suitable capacity and when all related conditions are right.”

Also during the interview, Wang expressed optimism that the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (海基會, SEF) and the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (海協會, ARATS) will be able to open offices in each other's territories by the end of 2014.

The SEF and ARATS are semi-official intermediary bodies set up by Taiwan and China, respectively, to handle cross-strait affairs in the absence of official ties.

According to Wang, MAC officials will be posted at the SEF's future Beijing office, to facilitate their dealings with Chinese officials.

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